Port of Bellavista (Nanay River)
Bellavista is located at the extreme north of the city on the Nanay River.
Just take a mototaxi north on Avenida Marina until you reach the
port. In addition to the port, you will encounter a market that
specializes in fresh fish. Here you can sample some freshly grilled
fish or if you are an adventurous eater, try the suri (palm beetle
larvae). Locals use suri as a traditional medicine for
bronchitis. At the port you can rent a boat and driver to visit the Butterfly
Farm, and Bora and Yagua tribes, but better to travel like the locals on
the water taxi shuttle boat to the village of San Andrés. The boat drivers who
rent their boats and services are notorious for swindling tourists for as much as $100, while the
costs about one sole.
From San Andrés you can hike to the Butterfly Farm where the owner, Gudren Sperrer,
will give you a tour of her wonderful butterfly insectary and animal
orphanage complete with a jaguar, tapir, and a rare red uakari
monkey. You can also hike to the
Bora and Yagua communities that are extremely friendly and the natives are
glad to teach visitors about their indigenous Amazonian cultures.
The Quistococha Zoo is a National Park that is located about
15 km from the city center. Quistococha is big, with about 900 acres, that
include a zoo, lagoon, arboretum, museum, aquarium, and several restaurants.
You can take the combi (minivan) from the corner of Moore and
Bermudez Streets or you can hire a taxi for about 15 soles.
The 102 km road to Nauta near Pacaira-Samiria National
Reserve has finally been completely paved and offers a quick way (about
two hours) of reaching this jumping off point for journeys to the reserve
and beyond. However, most tourist with tour guides still take the
overnight boat, thus ensuring the guide a longer trip and more profits.
Resorts along the highway offering swimming, drinking and parrilladas
(outdoor BBQs) are filled with locals on Sundays, but empty during the
week. Buses to Nauta can normally be found at the corner of Prospero and Jose Galvez Streets.
Santo Tomas Village
Santo Tomas is located on the canal between the Nanay
River and Lake Mapacocha. This is a wonderful place to enjoy water
sports such as water skiing or canoeing. For motorcycle enthusiasts,
there is a motocross track. Nearby Santo Tomas are the Cocama and
Cocamilla indigenous communities who practice subsistence fishing and
farming. They are also known for producing traditional ceramic
Lake Zungarococha is located 12 km (7 miles) from the
The lake is situated on the bank of the Nanay River and is great place to
swim or canoe. Near the lake is a small lagoon called
Corrientillo where a restaurant featuring traditional food is located.
Nearby there is
a Botanical Garden maintained by the UNAP (Universidad Nacional de la
Amazonía Peruana). Buses to Lake Zungarococha can be found on the corner of Prospero
and Jose Galvez Streets.
Santa Clara is located on the bank of the Nanay River near the Iquitos
Airport. To get there, turn right 500 meters (1640 feet) before the
airport and continue several kilometers to the Nanay. The dry season
(July – December), when the level of the Nanay River decreases, is the
time to go. The white sandy beaches attract many sunbathers,
swimmers, and even campers. Santa Clara is said to be one of the most
beautiful places in the immediate Iquitos area. To get there, take a
minibus (combi) from the corner of Prospero and Jose Galvez Streets.
WEST OF IQUITOS:
Moronacocha Lake is a branch of the Nanay River and is
located about two kilometers west of the city center. During the dry
season, the lake bed dries up and becomes a soccer field used by local
residents. You can see a spectacular sunset here, visit the local market
and even enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants.
The Iquitos Main Square or Plaza de Armas is the
historical central area of town. On Sunday mornings there is a flag raising ceremony and military parade.
On Sunday evenings, the plaza is filled with visitors, street
entertainers, and vendors. There is an obelisque that is a monument to
those from Iquitos who defended Peru
in the War of the Pacific in 1879.
The Matriz Cathedral
Located on the Plaza de Armas, this
Neogothic cathedral was built over a period of thirteen years from 1911 to
1924. The cathedral has one nave and has a carved wood pulpit on its right
side. A Swiss clock that was added in 1925 still keeps accurate time.
The Iron House
The Iron House (Casa de Fierro) is said to have
been designed and built by Gustav Eiffel who is famed for the Eiffel
Tower. It was originally built in France and then disassembled and shipped
up the Amazon River to Iquitos after the Paris Exhibition of 1898.
Rubber Barons Baca Diaz and Anselmo Del
Aguila had it reassembled at its present location on the corner of Putumayo and Prospero.
The Boulevard and Tarapaca Malecon are located just a
block east of the Plaza de Armas on the bank of the Itaya River just
before it flows into the main Amazon River. The Boulevard was built at the
height of the rubber baron era and was dedicated to the memory of those
who died in the War of the Pacific during which Peru lost the Tarapaca
region to Chile. During the day, you get a wonderful view of the
river and the floating town of Belen. At night, the Boulevard comes alive
with tourists and locals strolling along it enjoying the pleasant night
air, bars, restaurants and entertainment. Along the malecon are many
historical building and monuments.
Municipal Hall of the Province of Maynas
The political jurisdiction for the District of Iquitos
is the Municipality of Maynas. This is where the mayor's office is
located and is situated
opposite of the Plaza Sargento Lores. Interestingly, the old
Municipality of Maynas building still exists and is located across from the
Plaza de Armas and is currently being used to house the Municipal Museum of Natural Science.
The Market of Belén
Belen is geographically divided into two areas, the upper market area and
the lower residential area. The market is one of the main
markets for all products harvested from the jungle and local farming areas.
The Pasaje Paquito is located inside the market where you
can obtain local traditional medicines and potions. The houses of the
lower residential area are very photogenic with some built on rafts of floating
balsa logs and others built on log stilts above the high water
Located at Malecon Tarapaca 354. Visiting hours are
Monday 3:30 pm to 6:45 pm and Tuesday through Friday from 8:30 am to 12:15
pm and 3:30 pm to 6:45 pm and Saturday 9:00 am to noon. The
Amazonian Library specializes in regional books, historic photographs,
local newspapers and magazines, movies, maps, and paintings. The
museum also has objects of historical value on display and several
historical editions of the Holy Bible. The Amazonian Library was
originally constructed in 1873 and expanded to its present size in 1903.
Municipal Museum of Natural Science
Located across from the Main Square at 224 Napo Street.
This wonderful little museum contains many historic photographs of
Iquitos. In addition, there are displays of animals, plants and
indigenous people of the Amazon.
Located on the Tarapacá Malecon at No. 386 and open
from Monday to Fridays 8:00 am to 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and on
Saturdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. The historic building was built in
1863. The museum curates a fine collection of more than eighty
fiberglass sculptures of the main indigenous Amazonian tribes from Peru,
Brazil, and Venezuela. There are also historic photographs of the city of
Iquitos. The Amazon Museum shares the building with the Military
Museum and also contains a collection of photographs of past city officials.
Camu Camu Gallery
The Camu Camu Gallery is located at 438 Trujillo Street
in Punchana, just north of Iquitos. This small museum specializes in
paintings by Francisco Grippa, a famous
Peruvian artist that lives in Pebas. Grippa uses
unique materials for his canvas, an example being the use of a tree bark called
llanchama. Native Amazonians formerly used llanchama
to make clothing items.